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AMC Counts Emmy Returns

AMC Network’s investment in original programming continues to pay dividends in terns of award recognition.

The longtime basic-cable movie network took home four Emmys in 2007 for its original Western Broken Trail. This September, the Rainbow Media outlet has a chance to do even better.

In its first year of Emmy eligibility, AMC’s critically acclaimed Mad Men last week scored 16 Emmy nominations, the most of any drama series on broadcast or cable this year. (TV history buffs will note, though, that figure is way behind the single-season nominee champ, NYPD Blue, with 27 in 1994).

Matt Weiner, the former Sopranos scribe who created the series about 1950s and ’60s advertising executives, was nominated for two scripts he wrote, and director Alan Taylor was nominated for his work. Leading actor Jon Hamm, supporting actor John Slattery and guest star Robert Morse received acting nods, though the actresses who play the women who work with or are married to the Mad Men were shut out.

Even the show’s stylized main title, which sets the tone for the entire series, was nominated for an award.

In all, AMC garnered 20 nominations, including a best drama actor nod for Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston.

Ed Carroll, the president of AMC Networks, said that given the critical support for Mad Men, AMC wasn’t totally surprised with the series’ award success. But he joked that while the channel budgeted for an Emmy voters’ campaign, it wasn’t prepared to spend for 16 different categories.

The tonnage of nominations is an “endorsement of our original programming strategy,” Carroll said.

“This is a milestone moment for AMC,” added AMC general manager and executive vice president Charlie Collier.

Besides Hamm, actors receiving their first Emmy nominations notably include Gabriel Byrne (HBO’s In Treatment); Catherine Keener (Showtime’s An American Crime), Ralph Fiennes (HBO’s Bernard and Doris); Paul Giamatti (HBO’s John Adams) and Kevin Spacey (HBO’s Recount).

Cable networks copped 227 nominations for the 60th annual Emmy Awards, with basic cable networks making a great showing in major categories.

Several cable productions scored in the double digits of nominations.

HBO’s Tom Hanks-produced John Adams was the most nominated program overall, earning 23 mentions, including best miniseries, the Giamatti nomination for best actor; a best actress mention for Laura Linney and nominations for actors playing three Founding Fathers: David Morse (George Washington), Stephen Dillane (Thomas Jefferson) and Tom Wilkinson (Benjamin Franklin).

Wilkinson also has a chance to win an Emmy for his role in HBO’s movie about the 2000 election, Recount.

Recount was one of the other cable double-digit nominees, earning 11, while the imagined HBO biopic Bernard and Doris earned 10.

Also highly touted by voters were Sci Fi Channel’s Tin Man with nine nominations; A&E’s The Andromeda Strain and FX’s Damages each with seven; and HBO’s Extras: The Extra Special Series Finale with six.

Damages was nominated as best drama series and drew the 11th Emmy nomination for star Glenn Close; she’s won once, for the TV movie Serving in Silence: The Margrethe Cammermeyer Story 13 years ago.

Two of Close’s co-stars, Ted Danson and Zeljko Ivanek, also scored nominations.

HBO (once again) had the most nominations among all networks with 85, including all the nominations in the category for best actor in miniseries or movies and best supporting actor in that genre. HBO also got two of the five nominations for best comedy series, for Curb Your Enthusiasm and Entourage.

Showtime has a horse in the best drama series race in Dexter, with star, Michael C. Hall also getting a best actor nod.

Cable fare makes up four of the five nominees for best TV movie for 2007: Recount; Extras: The Extras Special Series Finale; Bernard and Doris and Lifetime’s sole Emmy nominated program, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter.

Cable’s on-demand programming and Web content have also broken through for Emmy nominations in categories such as “outstanding special class-short-format non-fiction programs.” Nominees include’s original production Deadliest Catch: The Real Dutch and History Channel’s Great Moments from the Campaign Trail.

Broadcast and cable networks (and Web sites) receiving nominations are, in alphabetical order: A&E, 9; ABC, 79;, 1; AMC, 20; Animal Planet, 1; Biography, 1; Bravo, 11; Cartoon Network, 3; CBS, 51; Comedy Central, 8;, 1; The CW, 2; Discovery Channel, 6;, 1; Disney Channel, 6; ESPN, 1; Fox, 28; FX Network, 11; History Channel, 4; History Channel VOD, 1;, 1; Lifetime, 1; MTV, 1; NBC, 50;, 2; Nickelodeon, 2; PBS, 33; Sci-Fi Channel, 15;, 1; Showtime, 21; Starz, 1; TLC, 1; TNT, 10, USA, 4; and Warner Bros. on demand, 1.

Awards in the craft categories, such as hairstyling and sound mixing, will be announced Sept. 13 at a new venue, the Nokia Theater L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles, a move from Emmy’s frequent home, the Shrine Auditorium. That ceremony will be televised a week later, on Sept. 20, on E! at 8 p.m. (ET/PT).

The primetime creative arts award will be televised this year on ABC on Sunday, Sept. 21 at 8 p.m. (ET/PT).